My Experiences Cymru is a new national survey developed by the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research and supported by Public Health Wales. The survey is designed for 16-18-year-olds living in Wales to share their experiences, which will help to improve understanding of what help and support young people find most beneficial.
Young people’s experiences and the support they receive in dealing with difficult experiences can influence their long-term physical and mental health.
Living in adversity can affect young people as they grow up and into adulthood. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as experiencing domestic abuse, or growing up with a parent in prison, have been found to predict a range of unfavourable mental and physical health outcomes.
Half of all adults have experienced at least one ACE
In Wales, it is estimated that half of all adults have experienced at least one ACE, and 14% have experienced four or more. The survey asks participants about their experiences, what helped or could have helped, and other background information to build up a picture of what is needed in Wales.
Part of a new project that aims to protect young people
The survey is part of a new project that aims to protect young people in Wales living in adversity. The project will also:
- Produce an online ‘What Works’ evidence repository collating published evidence for interventions that protect young people from the harmful effects of ACEs exposure.
- Develop a young person action panel to take forward the suggestions and recommendations from the survey, focus groups and charities.
- Establish a surveillance platform using linked routine data to detect changes and variations in outcomes for children living in adversity. This platform can be used to examine education and mental health outcomes. This platform will inform future intervention development and provide a mechanism for evaluating the impact of interventions implemented in Wales.
Flo Avery, PhD Candidate at the Centre for Population Health, said:
“Putting young people in Wales at the centre of this project is hugely important, so that we can use the results from the study to design and inform policies and interventions to support young people in Wales better. Young people are the future, and better interventions for this group can help to improve outcomes for the next generation and break the cycle of adverse experiences.
We are hoping to reach as many 16-18-year-olds as possible to gain the fullest possible picture of what works to protect young people living in adversity in Wales. Supporting young people to deal with their difficult experiences is a vital task for public health and social justice.”
Professor Sinead Brophy, Project lead and Director of the Centre for Population Health, said:
“The My Experiences Cymru survey is an essential part of this project and will enable our team to identify the solutions and recommendations from young people who have lived in situations of adversity.
The project will develop the infrastructure to protect and support young people and is part of a long-term strategy to reduce harm in disadvantaged groups via timely interventions.”